May 30th, 2007

(hidden) wisdom

Christian & trans, etc.

[I started this entry during work today, and it took far too long to finish it tonight.  Sleepytime.]

Because I spend a lot of time hanging out with Methodists nowadays, I'm made particularly aware of what's going on in that denomination.  The newest issue is Drew Phoenix, formerly Ann Gordon, pastor of a Baltimore church.  Tiffany pointed out that across the board, Methodist churches in urban centers are failing, while this pastor has significantly increased both attendance and giving in this Baltimore church.  However, the fact that the pastor transitioned (complete with surgery) ftm is what's getting attention.

Recently Tiffany linked to a sermon on "Marriage, Divorce and Homosexuality."  This pastor has since posted about Drew Phoenix as well (as has Tiffany).

Tiffany's also been crossposting at 7Villages (which I am given to understand is specifically United Methodist), where a lot of more theologically conservative folk have been leaving blog comments.

There's a lot of hostility on both sides, and it makes me uncomfortable.

When I first became aware of transgender issues in college, my immediate reaction was to feel a disconnect between the God of love I believed and the idea that the body one was born with was truly wrong for one.  Though this of course begged the question as to where one draws the line on body modification; plus bodies are in fact often born "wrong" -- e.g., babies with holes in their hearts, cleft palates (which are sometimes "merely" cosmetic but can also be so severe as to interfere with eating).

Stuff like Toby's GenderQueer Monologues helped me grok trans issues a lot better [I also find myself returning to Amy Bloom's Kafka analogy in her book Normal], and I'm a libertarian at heart so on a secular level I definitely endorse people being able to do whatever they want to their own bodies.

However, it's still a very different issue than sexual orientation (though some of the activism legitimately overlaps) so it's troubling to see it all lumped under one umbrella (i.e. "GLBT").  I find this even more troubling in a Christian context where I think one has to do a lot more work (at the very least, different work) to reconcile it.

And while I'm sure a lot of the people who are opposed to Christian churches affirming GLBT folk have a lot of problematic baggage, I do believe that for the most part their opposition is rooted in a sincere belief that theirs is the correct understanding of God's intention for the world -- which is where the liberals are coming from, too, so it makes me sad (and frustrated) that a lot of the reaction from "my side" is along the lines of "You are mean and exclusionary."  Okay, I know I'm being unfair to the current discussion, and my take on this is so tainted by my history with left-right disagreements.  But I'm really sympathetic to the conservatives on this issue, am even sympathetic to the sometimes hostile presentation of those views (though I don't think it's a presentation conducive to dialogue or even of encouraging the other side to even listen to you).  And I'm definitely starting to sound insulting myself (I started to write a sentence about the "self-righteousness" of the left and realized there was no way that was going to end well.), so I'm shutting up and going to bed.

[Sidenote: xanphibian posted a reminder that if you post a link to something, that can be tracked back to you.  I do understand not wanting trolls on one's journal, and I admit to being weirded out when someone I wasn't expecting to read an entry leaves a comment, but it makes me sad that the world is such that we are so concerned about this, that the default isn't that people engage you in discussion.]

Other interesting thoughts (from my sexual ethics readings):
    A new anthropophagism does not desire God outside of our bodies.  The desire of God is not a spiritual longing, if what we call spiritual has no body.  This desire has to do with concrete bodies with emptied stomachs, with illnesses that are not controlled or cannot be healed, with bodies discarded by government programmes, with bodies abused and battered, enslaved bodies, disfigured bodies, bodies not fully observed, bodies that burn in desire.  Moreover, the desire of God has to do with lack, with the emptiness of our skin, with our search for other bodies, transgressing the norms of what is allowed or permitted as we construe fragmentary notions of love.  Our desire for God has to do with the rubbing of our skin, with the kisses we give, the caresses we receive, with the orgasms we have.
-from "Oh, Que Sera, Que Sera . . . A Limping A/Theological Thought in Brazil" by Claudio Carvalhaes in Liberation Theology and Sexuality, ed. Marcella Althaus-Reid (p. 60)
In his book Body Theology, James B. Nelson posits the statement: "We do not just have bodies, we are bodies" (p. 43).


Oy, a quick skim of the flist tells me that the recent murmured worries which were written off as a hoax have resurfaced with a different twist and apparent legitimacy.  I will examine further after some sleep.

Edit: Thank you, cofax7. "You are not entitled to absolute freedom of speech on the internet."
hipster me

not about "LiveJournal Strikethrough 2007"

Yesterday my brother had a doctor's appointment in Cambridge so he called me to join me for lunch.  I literally spent the duration of my lunch hour on the phone with him trying to get him to the b-school.  I don't drive, so I hadn't realized how many one ways there are (including JFK St. between the Square and Eliot St.).  And then he had to find parking ('cause the HBS lot is $9).  But he did finally make it and got to meet a bunch of the people I work with.

He was telling me about the "new Ivies" -- which he had heard about 'cause his school (RPI) is mentioned.  We agreed that it's ridiculous.  It's such a non-story.  The opening says: A generation ago, elite schools were a clearly defined group: the eight schools in the Ivy League, along with such academic powerhouses as [list of 4]. Smaller liberal-arts colleges—like [list of 5]—were the destinations of choice for top students who preferred a more intimate campus. But in the past few decades, the number of college-bound students has skyrocketed, and so has the number of world-class schools.  It continues: The bottom line: that one "perfect" school need not break a student's heart. The colleges on the following list—the "New Ivies"—are beneficiaries of the boom in top students.  So despite positing their list as the "new Ivies," they're starting from an acknowledged premise that it was never just the Ivies.  Plus, while I'm sure applications have skyrocketed (as they have everywhere; that college admissions are increasingly competitive is news to no one, right?) it's not like these are schools are hidden treasures or anything.  The vast majority of them are well-known and have been for quite some time.  I totally endorse teaching kids that the places held up as dream colleges are not necessarily the best fit for everyone and that you can get a stellar education lots of places, but the idea of "new Ivies" just seems to be buying into the same old idea of there being a small set of "worthy" Institutes of Higher Learning.

While I was waiting for Jonah outside Davis T Station last night, this guy (shepherding a bunch of college students to a barbecue, I think) was talking about a 100-mile run in Vermont (which he plans to do, despite not having run more than 42 miles at a stretch before).  The women he was talking to pointed out that (1) that's like four marathons, (2) this is New England, so that's like an entire state (like Vermont, for example); he said it's a loop you do four times, and one of them joked that yeah, you just circle Rhode Island.  I was telling Jonah about this, and the guy had mentioned it being 16 hours, and Jonah and I did the math and that's ~6mph, aka a consistent 10-minute mile (that thing I do on the treadmill and wanna die after a half an hour).  I am comforted that the website posits this as a near record.  Jonah also pointed out that that means running at least part of it not during daylight.

Anyway, we had dinner at Rudy's Cafe and Tequila Bar (about which the Internet says things like, "The only tequila bar with a children's menu").  It was nicer inside than I had expected, though noisy.  The woman who seated us put us in a booth near the back despite the fact that there were two-person tables more in the center of the hub, for which I was grateful.  I got a strawberry daiquiri and Jonah got a peach daiquiri, and we both agreed that mine was better :)  I was meh on the food as I accidentally ordered not what I had intended to, but I ended up not being all that hungry, so it was okay.  I also learned that "fried ice cream" is better than I would have expected.

Today's amusement was Eric stumbling over saying "smoke detector" and saying "firefuck."

My mom e-mailed me this Boston Globe article saying:
Thought of you. 

You know, if graduate work terrifies (or bores) you – a librarian wouldn't be a bad job for someone who loves The Story. 
On the other hand, HBS has better pay and benefits.
Despite not having been since Friday, the elliptical (interval program as per usual) actually felt fairly easy and indeed I made really good time.

10:49min - 1mi
21:40min - 2mi
30min - 2.78mi
35min - 3.14mi

On Mad Money (this is my 27th time gymming it up at HBS, over the course of two months, and it only today occurred to me that yes, there's an obvious reason that the TVs are on channels like CNBC) today Cramer was talking about how eBay and Yahoo! should merge, and he suggested a couple names, but I can follow the bottom of the screen synopsis text better than I can the delayed closed-captioning, so what I saw were the name suggestions supposedly from the staff, which included "eBahoo" and "YaBa" (there was another one I can't remember).

I went to the weight room and did 4 sets of 12 reps of 8lbs.  I feel like I should figure out some sort of more sustained strength-training program, but for now I'm content to just do this light thing following cardio.

On the radio was a catchy song I quite liked with the line "the gods are crazy," and Googling indicates this is a Paris Hilton song.  I feel sullied and unusual.

I made spinach&strawberry salad for dinner.  I also tried the sundried tomato havarti I'd bought on a whim, which is kind of jarring in this context.  May use it with crackers this Saturday, though.  Y'all are invited to watch Monty Python's Life of Brian and possibly play games as well at my apartment this Saturday beginning at 7pm.

(Whee, Google alerts! -- thanks to Greenie for the pointer.  ::is egotistical::)

Okay, bed at a sane time tonight.

Edit: Except, apparently I can't fall asleep? Unfair.